Flemington trainers to the fore at Melbourne Cup Carnival
Flemington once again proved itself to be one of the leading training centres in the world during the recent Melbourne Cup Carnival with 20 of the 37 winners across the four-day meeting having been prepared from its stables.
Leading the charge was Lexus Melbourne Cup winner Verry Elleegant, one of six Group 1 winners during Australia's biggest race week to be based at Flemington. Also joining her were her Chris Waller-trained stablemates Home Affairs, winner of the Coolmore Stud Stakes, and Nature Strip, who reclaimed his title in the Darley Sprint Classic.
Other big race winners include Godolphin pair Willowy, who won twice during Cup week including a tenacious victory in the Kennedy Oaks, and TAB Empire Rose Stakes heroine Colette, while the Danny O'Brien-trained Superstorm took out the Kennedy Cantala.
While not officially trained at Flemington, Annabel Neasham's Zaaki was also based at the course in the weeks leading up to his success in the Paramount+ Mackinnon Stakes.
Waller and Godolphin trainer James Cummings were the week's leading lights, with both striking success from their Flemington stables.
Waller saddled up seven winners, with his three Group 1 wins going alongside victories in the Group 3 Paramount+ Carbine Club Stakes with Fangirl, the Group 3 Lexus Hotham Stakes with Great House, the Listed Off The Track Desirable Stakes with Espiona and the Twitter Trophy with Djukon.
Cummings, whose Kennedy Oaks heroine Willowy also took out the Group 2 ZED RUN Wakeful Stakes, was represented by Grinders Coffee Roasters Trophy victor Lackeen and Very Special Kids Pin and Win Trophy winner Alcyone.
The other Flemington stable to produce multiple winners was the father-son combination of Anthony and Sam Freedman, scoring with Flying Evelyn in the Group 3 Network 10 Red Roses Stakes before Penfolds Victoria Derby winner Warning returned to a staying trip at headquarters to take out the Group 3 Queen Elizabeth Stakes.
Some of the best stories, though, came from those who landed a single winner throughout the week on home soil.
They include Kennedy Racing private trainer Caroline Jennings scoring her first Flemington win in the TCL TV Stakes with Plucky Pirouette to kick off Kennedy Oaks Day, and Flemington stalwart Mike Moroney taking the Melbourne Cup Carnival Country Final with Bermadez.
Ben and JD Hayes followed in the footsteps of their father David and grandfather Colin in becoming third-generation Melbourne Cup Carnival winners, tasting success with Zayydani in the Group 2 TAB Matriarch Stakes, while – Mathew Ellerton and Simon Zahra brought the curtain down on their two-decade partnership when Age Of Chivalry took out the Group 3 Paramount+ Chatham Stakes.
Victoria Racing Club (VRC) Executive General Manager Racing Leigh Jordon said the club was delighted with the results coming from the Flemington training centre, which houses 18 trainers and just over 600 horses.
"Flemington as a training centre has that perfect blend of top horsemen and women and world-class facilities that make it the envy of many across the nation and around the world," Mr Jordon said.
"Time and time again, Flemington has proven the ideal nursery to produce horses of the highest calibre and that was proven again during the Melbourne Cup Carnival when more than half of the winners were trained on course. This includes seven of the eight Group 1 winners, too.
"Verry Elleegant ensured that two of the last three Melbourne Cup winners were trained out of Flemington, with Vow And Declare also prepared here. It is a training centre with a tremendous history and an incredibly bright future."
Other Flemington trainees to win Group 1 races during the Spring Racing Carnival include Caulfield Guineas winner Anamoe, Thousand Guineas victress Yearning and Wild Ruler, who took out the Moir Stakes.
The VRC has worked to keep the training facilities at Flemington Racecourse at a high standard. Two new synthetic training tracks have been installed in the last three years, jointly funded by Racing Victoria, the Victorian State Government and the VRC at a cost of more than $5 million.